Today I turned 51. For those of us born in places like the US, Korea or Saudi Arabia, the life expectancy for a woman is about 80, so I’m thinking about 30 years would be typical.
But when I was in Ghana, I learned that the life expectancy is a good 20 years less. Ghana women average age: 60. Ethiopia: 53 (life expectancy by country)
Does having an extra 20 years to live make you careless with time, the same way we are with money?
Seeing Korean kids getting shuttled from academy to academy, pushed to excel at any cost, it makes me think that here, people are bogged down under the luxury of wasting time when measured on the grand scale. Koreans are so hard-working they are wasting their lives away at schools and offices, leaving little time for being loving family and friends. If 50 year olds thought they had only another 3 to 10 more years alive, would they still continue with this focus?
My birthday wish is that we all find ways to savor our time here. US, Korean and many cultures may not value the time spent developing loving relationships, so you’re probably gonna be bucking the trend.
And your time may be 20 years more or less than that of friends born in another country. One can never know. Until it’s too late.
Maybe this sounds like a depressing message, but I’m hoping for the opposite effect. I wake up and whoop with joy pretty much daily, with the realization that it looks like I probably got myself another day on the planet.
Like a lot of luxuries that seem great but quickly feel ridiculous and weighty, who really wants the luxury of wasting time?
Happy birthday to you …today and every day